Many people could easily miss 529 Bar, if it wasn’t pointed out to them. Tucked into one of the densest areas of Atlanta nightlife in East Atlanta Village, a vintage-feeling neon sign leads the way into a nondescript doorway.
Once inside, patrons are greeted with what appears to be one of the tiniest bars in Atlanta, but one that isn’t without it’s own charm. There is a reason for this efficient use of space, however, as 529 is, at it’s heart, a live music venue. Beside the bar is a cozy and oddly shaped room, much larger than the bar itself, dimly lit with a couple of LED lamps and a projector broadcasting a carefully non-curated YouTube playlist that provides most of the light in the space. The feel here at 529 emphasizes one thing; it is totally about the bands, because there is nothing else.
The night began with an opening song by local artist, Muted, otherwise known as Reginald Levy. An eery number with very few lyrics and a constant harmonic guitar riff, the emotion of the piece was palpable. This was the feeling of someone with a complex story to tell, and they aren’t quite sure how to start.
After a brief intermission, the stage was filled with the members of Permanent Makeup, a three-piece punk rock band from Tampa, Florida. Kicking off the energy that remained throughout the rest of the night, their set was fast, hard, and full of power. Stage presence and crowd interaction was a large part of the show, with Singer and Bass player Christopher Nadeau jumping into the crowd during the band’s second song and rocking out. The band, consisting of James Bess, Christopher Nadeau, and Susan Dickson, dedicated their final song of the night to the idea of “Fuck off anybody who thinks you aren’t good enough to do the things you want,” and the crowd – already high on energy – went through the roof.
The third act of the night was a set of high-powered locals, DiCaprio, playing a decidedly more indie-punk mood, rocked the room and kept the crowd in sync. The band, comprising of Russell Rockwell, John Rae, and Kyle Swick, takes a simple, yet effective, approach to punk music that is enhanced with the strong abilities of the bassist. The band has an almost effortless sense of style, blending comedy in between songs with interesting and heavy lyrics during them. Definitely a group to look out for around town.
Finally, the headliner of the evening, Arbor Labor Union, started off with maintaining the energy that was persistent through the entire concert. ALU is best described as “Post-Punk Guitar Rock” and has a strong identity and sound in their music.
They were not content with simply keeping the high energy levels going; the quartet, which hails from “under a Peach Tree,” raised all the levels in the room to a higher place, while still maintaining a sweet, great sounding experience. The crowd was re-energized and jumping around in time with the extremely strong beat put out by ALU’s bassist and drummer. Rocking this hard for several songs, the drummer, Ben Salie’s, hi-hat stand broke in the middle of a song. This was quickly resolved thanks to Permanent Makeup’s Susan Dickson, who graciously grabbed her hi-hat stand out of the green room and delivered it to Ben during an exceptional comedic interlude by the band’s lead vocalist, Bo Orr.
This night at 529 was one to remember for anyone who attended, filled to the brim with talented individuals who will be making a big impact on the Atlanta Punk scene for years to come.
Written and shot by Christopher Little. Check out more of Christopher’s amazing photos from the show:
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